Should the next crop of Hatnua MKs watch their backs?

When Labor leader Isaac Herzog said that he was going to the Saban Forum in Washington to “work on his couplehood” with Hatnua head Tzipi Livni, there were a lot of men who probably cringed.

December 26, 2014 13:41
3 minute read.
Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni

Labor Party chief Isaac Herzog (L) and Hatnua chair Tzipi Livni announce their political alliance in Tel Aviv . (photo credit: REUTERS)


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When Labor leader Isaac Herzog said three weeks ago that he was going to the Saban Forum in Washington to “work on his couplehood” with Hatnua head Tzipi Livni, there were a lot of men who probably cringed.

First of all, the men of the Likud – who trusted her and got her elected for the first time to the Knesset – before she was instrumental in splitting the party and forming Kadima.

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Then there were the men of Kadima, who expected her to form a government when Ehud Olmert resigned and then supported her in the leadership race she lost to Shaul Mofaz.

Among the most loyal, were then-MKs Yoel Hasson and Shlomo Molla, who two years ago helped her draft Kadima MKs to Hatnua. They did not end up in the outgoing Knesset because she put five men ahead of them on her list.

Now all five of those men, with the exception of MK Amir Peretz, are looking for work or have retired against their will. The only surprise about that was that all of them sounded surprised when it happened to them.

At his Tel Aviv press conference Thursday, MK Meir Sheetrit explained that he not only disagreed with Livni’s partnership with Labor, but also with her forming the alliance without consulting her faction – that he chaired.

But neither Livni, nor Sheetrit, consulted with Kadima or the Likud when they decided to bolt those parties for their own political reasons.


In an interview with Israel Radio’s Ayala Hasson, an obviously anguished MK Amram Mitzna initially said he would not criticize Livni because it was important to him not to harm the effort to bring down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

When she barely pressed him a bit further, he could no longer resist the temptation.

He revealed that he had a difficult conversation with Livni, and admitted that he no longer liked the idea of parties where one person makes all the decisions.

“She made many mistakes,” Mitzna said. “I don’t like the way the party has been broken up. Some politicians don’t have courage to say things to your face. It harms democracy that there are parties where one person draws the list of candidates.”

MK Elazar Stern tried harder to be polite in a thinly veiled angry letter he wrote to Livni last weekend.

“In light of your recent behavior, I began to understand that my natural place is not in Hatnua in its apparent future form, and I would have a very hard time continuing to serve the public in such a framework,” he wrote.

Before the Likudniks and likes of Hasson, Molla, Sheetrit, Mitzna, and Stern, there were other men, too. Livni was in the Mossad. What she did there, no one can say.

Livni’s associates defended her by saying that “no one was thrown away” and accused the Hatnua MKs of greedily demanding higher slots on the joint list with Labor.

“Whoever wants to go should do it respectfully,” a source close to Livni said.

So the three slots Livni received between 21 and 25 on the Labor list are now available. Her associates have hinted that at least two of them will go to women.

But whoever takes those positions may have to keep in mind that if elected, they are only being guaranteed one term in the Knesset. When they arrive at their March 31 swearing-in ceremony and meet MKs from other parties, history indicates that they should bring along copies of their résumés.

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